July 6, 2021

There’s an old joke in Unitarian Universalist (UU) circles that if there’s one “St. John” whom the greatest number of UUs revere, it’s St. John Lennon. Seriously, it’s a whole thing far beyond UUs. There are St. John Lennon votive candles, stained glass windows, prayer cards, and more. Along these lines, John Lennon’s song “Imagine” is particularly beloved. And as I’ve been preparing this post, one line from that song has kept coming to mind: “Imagine there’s no countries /... Read more

June 20, 2021

I’ve read quite a few books about climate change over the past year, but I want to share some highlights from one book in particular. It’s titled Climate Courage: How Tackling Climate Change Can Build Community, Transform the Economy, and Bridge the Political Divide in America by Andreas Karelas, who is the executive director of RE-volv, a nonprofit organization that promotes a shift toward clean energy.  The basic gist of our situation, as summarized by one climate scientist is as... Read more

June 6, 2021

The stories we tell matter. The choices we make about which stories to teach our children matter. All the stories we tell and retell, year after year matter. Our choices about stories we allow to be neglected or suppressed matter as well. And regarding stories and perspectives most and least prominent in our culture, who decides and who benefits matter.   I bring all this up because May 31 and June 1 marked the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race... Read more

May 26, 2021

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd. Michael Eric Dyson, in his powerful book Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America, devastatingly described the video of Floyd’s final minutes as “the most affecting murder by a cop that we have witnessed in the homemade cinema of Black death” (67). In response, along with many of you, I participated in what became “the largest and most sustained round of protests this country has seen since the... Read more

February 1, 2021

In early January I received a call from a nearby community college. They had a 15-week undergraduate World Religions course starting in a little more than three weeks that needed an instructor. Our first live Zoom class session was this past Wednesday, and our focal question was “What is religion?” I also added two crucial follow-up questions: “Who benefits?” and “Who decides?” You get very different answers to the question, “What is religion,” depending on whether you ask, for example, a fundamentalist... Read more

January 26, 2021

If you hang out long enough with social justice activists, you’ll eventually hear the classic slogan “Another world is possible.” You can find it spray-painted as graffiti on subway walls, and emblazoned on t-shirts. You can spot it on lapel buttons. The phrase “Another world is possible” invites us to imagine what might be—to remember that the way things are is neither the way they’ve always been nor the way they have to be.  In the words of the late... Read more

January 18, 2021

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Dr. King was born in 1929, and if he were alive today, he would be celebrating his ninety-second birthday. I am always shocked to remember that he was only thirty-nine years old when he was assassinated. His prophetic activism for peace and justice ended tragically early. It is also important to remember that Dr. King did not accomplish anything on his own. And this year’s MLK Day also brings to mind other giants... Read more

January 12, 2021

Introduction The violent assault on the United States Capitol Building on Wednesday was shocking and traumatic. To construct a response, I would like to start with a story from the history of my own chosen tradition of Unitarian Universalism to put this week’s events into a larger context. Then, there are a few related aspects of what happened on Wednesday that I would like us to explore in more detail. Finally, I will point us toward where we might go... Read more

January 5, 2021

The year 2021 has finally arrived! And the beginning of a new year is traditionally a time for reflection on the year that has passed, reevaluation of one’s life from this new perspective, and recommitment in the form of new year’s resolutions.  This time of discernment, which supports our making thoughtful choices about how best to move forward with our lives, reminds me of Robert Frost’s (1874 – 1963) most famous—and also most widely misunderstood—poem, “The Road Not Taken.” This... Read more

December 30, 2020

The following are the top ten best books I’ve read since this time last year–in alphabetical order by the author’s last name because agonizing over a precise order would take all the fun out of remembering these books: We the People: A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the Twenty-First Century by Erwin Chemerinsky, (2018) Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves by Frans de Waal (2019). (If you are curious about how to act... Read more

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